Now, before you go off on me let me make myself clear. I am not scared of groups black boys because I think they are violent or aggressive or any other annoying stereotype there is (I grew up surrounded by black boys so I can’t even try that). But there is a certain fear that does come over me when I walk pass a group of black boys my age (and it is a certain type of group, that is hard to articulate but you know when you see them) across the street or see them at an event etc.
Someone tweeted today ‘black boys in big groups are actually the biggest source of my anxiety’ and I related to that sentiment so much. Ironically someone also tweeted something making fun of dark-skin girls a few hours before. In some ways this coincidence is a good way to explain this ‘fear’ that I and some other black girls have.
*NOTE* I am not speaking for everyone and I can only share my own experiences and that of those around me, so please don’t treat this as gospel. And if you’re a black boy reading this, please understand that this is not hate mail towards you, just an observation/stream of consciousness and if you have any questions feel free to ask.
A lot of this anxiety comes down to image and behaviour. This manifests itself in different ways for different people. For me, as I have said many times, I am a very slim, average height black girl. Curves are pretty much non-existent but I am coming to a place where I really do love my body and myself. BUT despite this when I walk pass, or I’m in an environment with a lot of black boys I am hyper-aware of what they think (or what they are told or maybe even what I assume they think) is a beautiful look for a black girl.
This look right now is a curvaceous young woman with braids, weave, natural hair etc. an Instagram Baddie if you will (a term I just became acquainted with recently). Not only does an Instagram Baddie have a certain look, there is a swag and a demeanour about her- a confidence, a ‘I know I’m bad’ kind of aura she possesses.
Now, I am not that in the slightest. I was even told by someone recently ‘you’re more of a smile and wave person, than a girl who pouts’ and that’s true, I am. The End. But what about the Black boys who think smile and wave girls are just not the way to be?
I don’t put my worth on what boys think about me, or what anyone thinks about me but most people want to be liked by their own people. Not necessarily in a romantic sense, in an everyday friendly sense too. So if I feel like you will write me off and won’t speak to me, or treat me nicely because I don’t match a certain image or behaviour then automatically I feel uncomfortable around you.
Now on the flip side to this…
I have friends who do possess this image, they are voluptuous beauties who funnily enough feel the exact same anxiety when confronted with a group of black boys. The reason for some of them being, they know that they are being looked at. They feel like boys are making judgements about them because of the curves they do have. One of my friends even said ‘if I don’t know you and you’re just looking at my body it makes me uncomfortable’. And that’s completely understandable because quite frankly her body isn’t yours to look at.
On top of this there are girls who have these lovely curvaceous bodies and people, black boys AND girls say ‘they don’t have the face to match’. Now I could start saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder (which I do believe btw) but I think sometimes we need to rethink. Where do these ideas come from? How are we letting them impact the way we see ourselves and others? How are we letting these ideas effect the way we TREAT others?
This brings me on to my last point.
When I saw the tweet ‘black boys in big groups are actually the biggest source of my anxiety’ I thought about a tweet I had seen just a few hours before where a black boy was slandering dark-skin black girls. It’s tweets like that, comments like that in real life and behaviours that stem from rigid standards of beauty like that, which cause black girls to look down and walk fast when they see a group of black boys.
It’s not because we’re scared you’ll hurt us, or we’re strange, or even that we’re massively insecure, it’s the fear that you will look at us and treat us according to the beauty standards that are fed to you. If we match the image you like EXACTLY you’ll stare at us until we’re uncomfortable, if we have one ‘glitch’ in this standard you’ll stare at us but make comments, and if we don’t match the standard at all then bye, we’re completely irrelevant to you.
As said before this isn’t just in a sexual attraction type of way, it’s literally just in a human way. No black girl wants to have anxiety when she walks past black boys in the street because they are her people and more importantly anxiety is a very horrible feeling and it shouldn’t be that deep.
I like to try and provide solutions to things so it’s not all doom and gloom so what I would say is this:
Numero Uno: Remember first and foremost that you’re fearfully and wonderfully made and that other people’s opinions shouldn’t impact your sense of worth because really and truly YOU SLAY.
Numero Dos: Black boys who make derogatory comments directed at black girls you need to stop. Your mother is a woman, she wouldn’t like that, so don’t disrespect other women.
Numero Tres: I am not for dragging people at all so if you see or hear a comment made to black girl that is wrong, whether you are a black boy or girl say something. Be loving and kind but say something.
Numero Cuatro: GIRLS DO NOT DRAG OTHER GIRLS. If I was PM I would make this a crime, it’s not cute. We’re all Queens and we should be shining each others crowns not hating on each other, so please let’s start spreading some black girl love.
Like said before this is just a stream of consciousness- it’s not gospel. I know not all boys are mean, and I know people of all races face this but this is just my perspective on something that has been bugging me for a while.
Are you a Black girl and you relate to any of this? Are you a Black boy and have something to ask or say? Leave a comment below or tweet @iTunu_Speaks with your thoughts and opinions.